In 1992, the United States became involved in UNOSOM, a Chapter VII humanitarian mission in Somalia. The original goal of our participation in this mission was to ensure the safe delivery of humanitarian aid to a suffering Somali population. As a part of Operation Restore Hope, we began to focus in on the capture of General Mohamed Farrah Hassan Aidid, a wanted Somali warlord.
"America's reputation suffers, and our ability to bring about change is constrained when we are perceived as idle in the face of mass atrocities and genocide." - Presidential Study Directive 10, April 4, 2011
Whilst we all watched perhaps the most pointless debate in presidential history last week, I found myself wondering whether there will actually be any real substance to any of these debates. Has political theater taken total control of the American political process? I mean, yes, I support Big Bird and I had a good laugh tracking Twitter during the debate, but at what point do the candidates get serious and move from offering sound bites and zingers to actually talking about and debating the real issues? There are important decisions to be made by the next president, and the American public deserves real discourse about them.
Earlier this week, the team from Zambia won the Africa Cup of Nations soccer tournament. The Zambian side, known as the Chipolopolo, or Copper Bullets, were an underdog in the 16 team field. Their victory over the heavily-favored Cote d'Ivoire side was a thrilling enough outcome, but that it happened in Libreville, Gabon, where a generation earlier Zambia's entire national team had been wiped out in an airplane crash proved to be nothing short of a national catharsis.
The rhetoric coming out of the Republican presidential primary candidates would have you believe that President Barack Obama is actively engaged in a foreign policy whose sole purpose is to weaken America's standing on the global stage. This is, of course, nonsense. But it also hides the fact that Obama has been rather consistently engaged in a foreign policy strategy followed by the hero of the Republican Right, Ronald Reagan, who himself was following a policy originally laid down by Pres. Harry S Truman.
Ultima Ratio Regum Latin for “[War,] the last argument of kings,” this quote summed up the classical approach to warfare, that it was the method of achieving a specific strategic goal of the realm when other methods had failed. In modern times though, it seems that war is often the result of a chain of political miscalculations by heads of state. Such is the situation with Iran and the United States, where armed conflict seems more and more likely the eventual outcome of our current diplomatic standoff.
There are times where I find myself wondering how so many people in a society could collectively be asking the wrong questions. How is it possible for such a vast majority to so completely miss the point? This occurrence used to be rare, but is now becoming more common place. I realize the world is indeed a complicated place, and we are never going to have it all figured out. Yet there has to be a point where at least someone in the crowd notices we have been looking at a situation all wrong…right?
Texas governor and newly-minted presidential candidate Rick Perry recently made headlines by holding a quasi-religious service in Houston which drew an estimated crowd of 30,000. Perry called on the crowd to engage in prayer and fasting as a spiritual commitment designed to make God a bigger presence in their lives.
The question of how and when the United States ought to be involved in international conflicts, particularly those in which we are not directly implicated, has long been a matter of fierce debate among Americans. The catalyst for its current place at the forefront of public discourse seems to have been our decision to involve ourselves in the Libyan conflict. This decision has been especially contentious as it played out in the midst of violent conflict in a multitude of neighboring countries, which we have otherwise steered clear of militarily.
After listening to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on his recent swing though the United States I can only assume that Bibi just doesn't realize it's 2011. How else to explain his repeated comments, including his insulting dressing down of President Barack Obama at the White House, explaining why Israel cannot return to their 1967 borders because Israel would then lack the “strategic depth” to defend itself. Strategic depth? Why?